Threat Actors Don't Care if You're Compliant

Just ask the numerous organizations – or their affected customers – if compliance was enough to protect from a data breach. Threat actors are persistent and innovative, and often outpace the development of compliance standards designed to stop them. So, if compliance isn’t enough, what is? Security built for threats, not compliance checklists.

Cloud security is more than compliance

With the constant evolution of how data is managed in the cloud, the definition of “being secure” at an operational level continues to change. Often, the only guidelines for organizations are compliance standards (e.g. PCI, HIPAA, GDPR) dictated by various governmental and private institutions. While adhering to these standards is essential to remaining operationally viable, they only provide a framework for the minimum amount of protection needed for data to be considered “secure.”

Limiting cloud security to the bare minimum is a recipe for disaster. Cyber threats continue to evolve at an explosive pace, so restricting your defenses to a checklist of mandated controls makes cloud security more difficult than it needs to be.So, instead of taking a myopic view of compliance (e.g. only focusing on how to be HIPAA-compliant), organizations should consider how their security program is protecting them from data breaches. Every data-driven organization should have the same goal: compliance as the outcome of an effective cloud security program, not its driver.

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Are you a security-first organization?

An organization that focus on compliance first to avoid penalties can miss the big cyber security picture and open themselves to vulnerabilities. Read how.

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Defining Security

Security is the sum of processes and features safeguarding your data. Effective security requires threat identification through proactive risk assessment and threat intelligence as well as active monitoring and analysis of your network environment.

The key difference between security and compliance is that security is inherently risk-based. Instead of measuring effectiveness based on adherence to prescribed controls, its success is defined by the ability to protect against and respond to threats. Protection as a metric isn’t always easy to track, but can’t be underappreciated – especially when a single data breach can ruin an organization.

Defining Compliance

Compliance is determined by governmental, non-profit or industry groups and serves as a generic blueprint for the security of certain kinds of data. The regulatory organizations that govern compliance standards issue them as a minimum bar for security. Enforcement is established through audits or assessments that are either self-administered or coordinated by a third party.

Audits act as a snapshot of how your organization fared at one moment in time. And, as is common with regulatory standards, organizations that mandate compliance standards are often responsive as opposed to proactive – creating a lag time between when a threat emerges and when the prescribed solution is codified.

For these reasons, organizations that let compliance drive their cloud security strategy (i.e. only focusing on passing their audits) ultimately limit their ability to remain secure long-term.

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Security and Compliance

Finding a Balance

Despite their differences, both are essential for processing, hosting and managing sensitive and regulated data. It’s essential to understand security vs compliance and how to solve for both.

How to Operationalize Security and Compliance:

  • Make security and compliance part of regular business-as-usual operations.
  • Ensure risk management is included in all phases of your operations – risk assessment should be an ongoing process, not a once-a-year exercise.
  • Regularly review and audit your internal controls and processes.

Where Armor can help:
Armor can help you achieve balance in the struggle for security vs compliance. Our cloud security solutions were purpose-built to provide the highest levels of security and control for your cloud data – ensuring you can adhere to even the most demanding compliance standards.

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